How Safe Is Apple Pay?
Whether you are a major department store selling designer goods or a local farmer selling your harvest at a local farmers market, accepting credit cards and processing wireless payments has never been easier. Services such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Google Wallet ensure that this process doesn’t take longer than a couple of seconds. But how does this technology actually work? Further, is it safe for you and your customers?
Faster Payment with NFC
NFC, or “near field communication” is what makes wireless payments possible. Two devices equipped with NFC chips can establish a wireless connection and thereby exchange information. The active chip actives the passive chip in order to transfer small amounts of data. This method evolved from radio frequency identification. In order for it to work, the two devices need to be held together very closely (approximately 4 cm). This allows you to make payments with your card or even your smartphone without having to enter a pin. This provides obvious speed and great efficiency.
Many people are worried about data protection. Cyber security expert Douglas Crawford from BestVPN.com understands the concerns. “With cashless payments, every purchase you make can and will be logged and tracked. Your bank and anyone else looking (such as the government or criminal hackers) can build up a very detailed and intimate picture of your buying habits. They can track what you like to eat, your hobbies, where you like to spend your leisure time, and much more.”
Some of the most common security risks associated with NFC usage are eavesdropping, data corruption or modification, interceptions and physical theft. It is important to ensure that the companies NFC users do business with use secure channels that encrypt the data. But there are also other things you can do to protect yourself from attacks of this nature.
How to Stay Safe
Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt your data while using wireless systems to buy and sell goods. That way data looks garbled even if it does happen to be intercepted.
For consumers, it is important to lock your phone when you’re not using it. Fingerprint or password protections are important security measures, too. They can stop someone from making purchases and paying with your phone if it is lost or stolen. Using these protections is better for both the consumer and the merchant.
Consider installing a reputable anti-virus program on your device. This will help protect your phone against malware which could potentially steal your sensitive information. This is particularly useful if you’re using an Android device.
If you’re regularly using wireless payment systems, it is a good idea to properly protect yourself from data theft. There are various ways in which you can achieve this. You might consider, for example, opening a separate bank account for NFC transfers. That way, if someone hacks your NFC account, your main account will remain safe.